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The History of the Internet

1988 - 1994

This chapter start with the release of the first internet worm, and ends with connecting many countries to the internet.



pointer.gif (149 bytes)Soon after the completion of the T1 NSFNET backbone, traffic increased so quickly that plans immediately began on upgrading the network again.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Merit and its partners formed a not for profit corporation called ANS, Advanced Network Systems, which was to conduct research into high speed networking. It soon came up with the concept of the T3, a 45 Mbps line. NSF quickly adopted the new network and by the end of 1991 all of its sites were connected by this new backbone.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)2 November - Internet worm burrows through the Net, affecting ~6,000 of the 60,000 hosts on the Internet (:ph1:)


pointer.gif (149 bytes)CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) formed by DARPA in response to the needs exhibited during the Morris worm incident. The worm is the only advisory issued this year.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)DoD chooses to adopt OSI and sees use of TCP/IP as an interim. US Government OSI Profile (GOSIP) defines the set of protocols to be supported by Government purchased products (:gck:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Los Nettos network created with no federal funding, instead supported by regional members (founding: Caltech, TIS, UCLA, USC, ISI).

pointer.gif (149 bytes)NSFNET backbone upgraded to T1 (1.544Mbps)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)CERFnet (California Education and Research Federation network) founded by Susan Estrada.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) established in December with Jon Postel as its Director. Postel was also the RFC Editor and US Domain registrar for many years.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet Relay Chat (IRC) developed by Jarkko Oikarinen (:zby:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First Canadian regionals join NSFNET: ONet via Cornell, RISQ via Princeton, BCnet via Univ of Washington (:ec1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)FidoNet gets connected to the Net, enabling the exchange of email and news (:tp1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The first multicast tunnel is established between Stanford and BBN in the Summer of 1988.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Countries connecting to NSFNET: Canada (CA), Denmark (DK), Finland (FI), France (FR), Iceland (IS), Norway (NO), Sweden (SE)

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, 56Kbps CSNET, 1.544Mbps (T1) NSFNET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 56,000



pointer.gif (149 bytes)RIPE (Reseaux IP Europeens) formed (by European service providers) to ensure the necessary administrative and technical coordination to allow the operation of the pan-European IP Network. (:glg:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First relays between a commercial electronic mail carrier and the Internet: MCI Mail through the Corporation for the National Research Initiative (CNRI), and Compuserve through Ohio State Univ (:jg1,ph1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Corporation for Research and Education Networking (CREN) is formed by merging CSNET into BITNET (August)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)AARNET - Australian Academic Research Network - set up by AVCC and CSIRO; introduced into service the following year (:gmc:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First link between Australia and NSFNET via Hawaii on 23 June

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll tells the real-life tale of a German cracker group who infiltrated numerous US facilities

pointer.gif (149 bytes)UCLA sponsors the Act One symposium to celebrate ARPANET's 20th anniversary and its decomissioning (August)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Countries connecting to NSFNET: Australia (AU), Germany (DE), Israel (IL), Italy (IT), Japan (JP), Mexico (MX), Netherlands (NL), New Zealand (NZ), Puerto Rico (PR), United Kingdom (UK)

Number of hosts breaks 100,000



pointer.gif (149 bytes)While the T3 lines were being constructed, the Department of Defense disbanded the ARPANET and it was replaced by the NSFNET backbone. The original 50Kbs lines of ARPANET were taken out of service.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Tim Berners-Lee and CERN in Geneva implements a hypertext system to provide efficient information access to the members of the international high-energy physics community.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is founded by Mitch Kapor

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Archie released by Peter Deutsch, Alan Emtage, and Bill Heelan at McGill

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Hytelnet released by Peter Scott (Univ of Saskatchewan)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The World comes on-line (, becoming the first commercial provider of Internet dial-up access

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ISO Development Environment (ISODE) developed to provide an approach for OSI migration for the DoD. ISODE software allows OSI application to operate over TCP/IP (:gck:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)CA*net formed by 10 regional networks as national Canadian backbone with direct connection to NSFNET (:ec1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The first remotely operated machine to be hooked up to the Internet, the Internet Toaster by John Romkey, (controlled via SNMP) makes its debut at Interop. Pictures: Internode, Invisible

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Countries connecting to NSFNET: Argentina (AR), Austria (AT), Belgium (BE), Brazil (BR), Chile (CL), Greece (GR), India (IN), Ireland (IE), Korea (KR), Spain (ES), Switzerland (CH)

Backbones: 56Kbps CSNET, 1.544Mbps (T1) NSFNET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 313,000



pointer.gif (149 bytes)CSNET (which consisted of 56Kbps lines) is discontinued having fulfilled its important early role in the provision of academic networking service. A key feature of CREN is that its operational costs are fully met through dues paid by its member organizations.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The NSF established a new network, named NREN, the National Research and Education Network. The purpose of this network is to conduct high speed networking research. It was not to be used as a commercial network, nor was it to be used to send a lot of the data that the Internet now transfers.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First connection takes place between Brazil, by Fapesp, and the Internet at 9600 baud.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Commercial Internet eXchange (CIX) Association, Inc. formed by General Atomics (CERFnet), Performance Systems International, Inc. (PSInet), and UUNET Technologies, Inc. (AlterNet), after NSF lifts restrictions on the commercial use of the Net (March) (:glg:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS), invented by Brewster Kahle, released by Thinking Machines Corporation

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Gopher released by Paul Lindner and Mark P. McCahill from the Univ of Minnesota

pointer.gif (149 bytes)World-Wide Web (WWW) released by CERN; Tim Berners-Lee developer (:pb1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) released by Philip Zimmerman (:ad1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)US High Performance Computing Act (Gore 1) establishes the National Research and Education Network (NREN)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)NSFNET backbone upgraded to T3 (44.736Mbps)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)NSFNET traffic passes 1 trillion bytes/month and 10 billion packets/month

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Defense Data Network NIC contract awarded by DISA to Government Systems Inc. who takes over from SRI in May

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Start of JANET IP Service (JIPS) which signalled the changeover from Coloured Book software to TCP/IP within the UK academic network. IP was initially 'tunneled' within X.25. (:gst:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Countries connecting to NSFNET: Croatia (HR), Czech Republic (CZ), Hong Kong (HK), Hungary (HU), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Singapore (SG), South Africa (ZA), Taiwan (TW), Tunisia (TN)

Backbones: Partial 45Mbps (T3) NSFNET, a few private backbones, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 617,000



pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet Society is chartered in January.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)World-Wide Web released by CERN.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)NSFNET backbone upgraded to T3 (44.736Mbps

pointer.gif (149 bytes)IAB reconstituted as the Internet Architecture Board and becomes part of the Internet Society

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Number of hosts breaks 1,000,000

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First MBONE audio multicast (March) and video multicast (November)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)RIPE Network Coordination Center (NCC) created in April to provide address registration and coordination services to the European Internet community (:dk1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Veronica, a gopherspace search tool, is released by Univ of Nevada

pointer.gif (149 bytes)World Bank comes on-line

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The term "surfing the Internet" is coined by Jean Armour Polly (:jap:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Zen and the Art of the Internet is published by Brendan Kehoe (:jap:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet Hunt started by Rick Gates

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Countries connecting to NSFNET: Antarctica (AQ), Cameroon (CM), Cyprus (CY), Ecuador (EC), Estonia (EE), Kuwait (KW), Latvia (LV), Luxembourg (LU), Malaysia (MY), Slovakia (SK), Slovenia (SI), Thailand (TH), Venezuela (VE)

Backbones: 45Mbps (T3) NSFNET, private interconnected backbones consisting mainly of 56Kbps, 1.544Mbps, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 1,136,000



pointer.gif (149 bytes)InterNIC created by NSF to provide specific Internet services: directory and database services (by AT&T), registration services (by Network Solutions Inc.), and information services (by General Atomics/CERFnet).

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Marc Andreessen and NCSA and the University of Illinois develops a graphical user interface to the WWW, called "Mosaic for X".

pointer.gif (149 bytes)US White House comes on-line (

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Worms of a new kind find their way around the Net - WWW Worms (W4), joined by Spiders, Wanderers, Crawlers, and Snakes ...

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet Talk Radio begins broadcasting (:sk2:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)United Nations (UN) comes on-line (:vgc:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)US National Information Infrastructure Act

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Businesses and media begin taking notice of the Internet

pointer.gif (149 bytes)InterCon International KK (IIKK) provides Japan's first commercial Internet connection in September. TWICS, though an IIKK leased line, begins offering dial-up accounts the following month (:tb1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Mosaic takes the Internet by storm; WWW proliferates at a 341,634% annual growth rate of service traffic. Gopher's growth is 997%.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Countries connecting to NSFNET: Bulgaria (BG), Costa Rica (CR), Egypt (EG), Fiji (FJ), Ghana (GH), Guam (GU), Indonesia (ID), Kazakhstan (KZ), Kenya (KE), Liechtenstein (LI), Peru (PE), Romania (RO), Russian Federation (RU), Turkey (TR), Ukraine (UA), UAE (AE), US Virgin Islands (VI)

Backbones: 45Mbps (T3) NSFNET, private interconnected backbones consisting mainly of 56Kbps, 1.544Mbps, and 45Mpbs lines, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 2,056,000



pointer.gif (149 bytes)No major changes were made to the physical network. The most significant thing that happened was the growth. Many new networks were added to the NSF backbone. Hundreds of thousands of new hosts were added to the INTERNET during this time period.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Pizza Hut offers pizza ordering on its Web page.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First Virtual, the first cyberbank, opens.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ATM (Asynchronous Transmission Mode, 145Mbps) backbone is installed on NSFNET.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ARPANET/Internet celebrates 25th anniversary

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Communities begin to be wired up directly to the Internet (Lexington and Cambridge, Mass., USA)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)US Senate and House provide information servers

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Shopping malls arrive on the Internet

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First cyberstation, RT-FM, broadcasts from Interop in Las Vegas

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) suggests that GOSIP should incorporate TCP/IP and drop the "OSI-only" requirement (:gck:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Arizona law firm of Canter & Siegel "spams" the Internet with email advertising green card lottery services; Net citizens flame back

pointer.gif (149 bytes)NSFNET traffic passes 10 trillion bytes/month

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Yes, it's true - you can now order pizza from the Hut online

pointer.gif (149 bytes)WWW edges out telnet to become 2nd most popular service on the Net (behind ftp-data) based on % of packets and bytes traffic distribution on NSFNET

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Japanese Prime Minister on-line (

pointer.gif (149 bytes)UK's HM Treasury on-line (

pointer.gif (149 bytes)New Zealand's Info Tech Prime Minister on-line (

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First Virtual, the first cyberbank, open up for business

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Radio stations start rockin' (rebroadcasting) round the clock on the Net: WXYC at Univ of NC, KJHK at Univ of KS-Lawrence, KUGS at Western WA Univ

pointer.gif (149 bytes)IPng recommended by IETF at its Toronto meeting (July) and approved by IESG in November. Later documented as RFC 1752

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The first banner ads appear on in October. They were for Zima (a beverage) and AT&T

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Trans-European Research and Education Network Association (TERENA) is formed by the merger of RARE and EARN, with representatives from 38 countries as well as CERN and ECMWF. TERENA's aim is to "promote and participate in the development of a high quality international information and telecommunications infrastructure for the benefit of research and education" (October)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)After noticing that many network software vendors used in their documentation examples, Bill Woodcock and Jon Postel register the domain. Sure enough, after looking at the domain access logs, it was evident that many users were using the example domain in configuring their applications.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Countries connecting to NSFNET: Algeria (DZ), Armenia (AM), Bermuda (BM), Burkina Faso (BF), China (CN), Colombia (CO), Jamaica (JM), Jordan (JO), Lebanon (LB), Lithuania (LT), Macao (MO), Morocco (MA), New Caledonia (NC), Nicaragua (NI), Niger (NE), Panama (PA), Philippines (PH), Senegal (SN), Sri Lanka (LK), Swaziland (SZ), Uruguay (UY), Uzbekistan (UZ)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Top 10 Domains by Host #: com, edu, uk, gov, de, ca, mil, au, org, net

Backbones: 145Mbps (ATM) NSFNET, private interconnected backbones consisting mainly of 56Kbps, 1.544Mbps, and 45Mpbs lines, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 3,864,000


part 2part 4index Last Updated on 19 March 2001 For suggestions  please mail the editors 


Footnotes & References